Inspiration Tuesday: What An Unconventional Model Teaches Us About Loving Ourselves

What An Unconventional Model Teaches Us About Loving OurselvesWhen you think of a model, if you’re like most people, you probably think of women like Cindy Crawford, Christie Brinkley, Gisele Bündchen…the list goes on.

But I bet you wouldn’t think of the subject of this month’s Inspiration Tuesday, Melanie Gaydos.

(If I’m being honest, at first glance, I wouldn’t have either…)

And I’m not saying that to be rude.

I’m just saying that this month’s Inspiration Tuesday doesn’t fit the traditional mold of what we usually think of when we think of a model.

But she is a model…not only of fashion, but of how to own your story…and not just own it, but love it.

And, I mean, really love it.

When You’re Born A Bit Different, You Have A Choice.

Let’s face it, being different can be hard – especially when it comes to the way we look.

And for much of Melanie’s childhood, it was very hard to be different.

Melanie was born with a rare genetic disorder called ectodermal dysplasia (ED), a group of conditions resulting in abnormal development of the skin, hair, nails, teeth, and sweat glands.

As you can probably surmise, ED is not easily hidden – everyone can see whether we have hair, teeth or nails, right? What An Unconventional Model Teaches Us About Loving Ourselves

And everyone can see when we don’t – something contributing to Melanie often being stared at, made fun of, and misunderstood during her childhood.

And something that, as you can imagine, didn’t make Melanie feel very good.

Until, at age 12 or 13, when she made a choice, a choice to accept her body and love herself just as she is.

Today, at 26, instead of hiding in shame over her differences, Melanie celebrates her uniqueness-es – parlaying them into an international, high-fashion modeling career.

And, in the process, bucking the norm and encouraging the world to reconsider how it defines beauty.

What An Unconventional Fashion Model Teaches Us About Loving Ourselves (And Others)…

After seeing Melanie’s story on The Doctors, I came away with two pieces of wisdom I wanted to share with you – one about loving ourselves and one about loving others.

To be our best selves, we must practice both…

1 | Own your story – with a capital ‘O’.

Easier said than done sometimes, right? For Melanie, owning (and loving) her story seemingly came down to two things: 1) a choice; and 2) courage.

A choice to, as mentioned above, accept herself as she is rather than expend endless energy trying to be something she isn’t. And the courage to be herself.

As she so eloquently says…

At the end of the day, I think part of what makes me successful is that I’m not afraid to be who I am, and I’m not afraid to look a certain way. ‘I just try to stay true to who I am.’

Wow. Talk about being comfortable in your own skin!

When you’re struggling to love and accept yourself, I hope you’ll remember Melanie’s story – which you can learn more about firsthand in the video below…

Melanie says she defines beauty not so much by how one looks, but as a feeling.

A feeling she most definitely has in spades.

2 | Accept someone else’s story.

While highlighting Melanie’s story, The Doctors introduced Kiera, a 9-year-old little girl also born with ED.

Not only did Kiera get to meet someone, i.e., Melanie, with her same condition, but she also received an entire table stacked with toys from Mattel.

The audience applauded.

Kiera cried.

And Kiera’s mom clarified that she (Kiera) was crying because she was happy – because she was rarely treated like this. Most of the time, she was being made fun of or stared at by other people.

Tell me this, why does society so often shame someone for being different?


Judging others makes it harder to be yourself. Because you’re really judging in others what you don’t like in you. {Tweet this!}

Both kids and adults judge.

Let’s aim to accept instead.

:: ::

So, after finishing this post, I found this powerfully raw video on The Huffington Post that does a beautiful job of telling Melanie’s story.

I sincerely hope you’ll watch it…

You’ll not only be amazed by Melanie’s uplifting attitude, but you’ll also witness firsthand what it feels like to be judged…


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To loving yourself (and others),


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